Controlled targeting and transport of redox enzymes to and across the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane is essential for bacterial respiration. A subset of bacterial redox enzymes is exported as folded proteins on the Tat (twin-arginine transport) pathway. Protein export is the point-of-no-return for passenger proteins on the Tat pathway and it is crucial that complex, cofactor-containing enzymes are fully assembled before export is attempted. Using the Escherichia coli trimethylamine N-oxide reductase system as a model, we discuss here the molecular processes governing assembly and export of Tat-dependent enzymes.

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